05/20/12 11:20 PM ET
Angels forced to get creative on defense
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
Wells, Langerhans likely headed to DL
SAN DIEGO -- The Angels didn't just lose a frustrating extra-inning game to the Padres on Sunday.They're also expecting to lose two of their outfielders to the disabled list, with Vernon Wells suffering a right thumb injury and Ryan Langerhans nursing a separated shoulder. After the 3-2, 13-inning loss at Petco Park, Wells' right hand was bandaged and Langerhans was wearing a sleeve to protect his right shoulder. Both will travel to Anaheim for followup MRI exams on Monday, but neither injury is expected to change the status of Torii Hunter, who's been on the restricted list for a week and will remain in Texas until the situation surrounding his teenage son (arrested on suspicion of sexual assault) is resolved. Wells was hurt after stealing second base in the second inning, injuring his thumb while trying to catch himself after the popup slide. "It didn't feel very good when it happened," said Wells, who stayed in the game, took his position in left field for the bottom half of the inning, then was removed in the middle of the third. "Even if the tests say nothing significant as far as any procedures or anything, it's very sore, and it's going to take a little bit of time," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "Most likely he's going on the DL." The injury couldn't have come at a worse time for Wells, who was batting .348 over his past six games and was showing signs of a potential turnaround. "It's just part of the game," said Wells, batting .244 with six homers on the year. "I'll just take mental notes of where I was at this point. Whenever I get back, just pick up from there." Langerhans, called up from Triple-A on Monday to take Hunter's place on the roster, banged his shoulder against the left-field wall while trying to track down a leadoff double by John Baker and was removed after being checked out. Langerhans said he has no idea how long he'll be out. "This is the first time I've ever had anything like this," he added. "Hopefully I get better news tomorrow and go from there." The injuries mean the Angels will have a starting outfield of Mike Trout in left, Peter Bourjos in center and Mark Trumbo in right, at least until Hunter returns. They don't have any more outfielders on the 40-man roster, so an array of moves are expected on Monday. In Triple-A, the Angels have Kole Calhoun (.296 batting average, five homers), Drew Heid (promoted after Trout's callup), Doug Deeds (.253 with 13 RBIs) and Matt Long (.216 batting average). Scioscia indicated the Angels will also make some moves on the pitching side, after their bullpen had to account for 6 2/3 innings on Sunday.
Aybar finds stroke in San Diego
SAN DIEGO -- The Erick Aybar the Angels thought they signed to a four-year extension finally showed up in the three-game series against the Padres, a stretch that saw the switch-hitting shortstop compile eight hits in 15 at-bats.On Saturday, Aybar went 4-for-4 with an RBI triple, a double, a single and a clutch performance in the ninth inning -- one that included a swinging-bunt infield single, a stolen base and an advance to third on an errant throw before being left stranded. "Hopefully he'll help us a lot when he starts to play catchup," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "because he's not a .190 hitter." In one night, Aybar's batting average went from .197 to .221, with three of the switch-hitter's hits coming from the right side of the plate -- the side he struggled at mightily last year. This season, it's the left side Aybar has been working on, trying to remove some of the clutter in his stride and be smoother attacking the ball. "He's much quieter, a little less movement," Scioscia said, "and I think he's feeling a little better about that part."
Reliever LaTroy Hawkins (broken right pinkie) has been lightly throwing off flat ground, but is still at least a week away from being reexamined. Catcher Chris Iannetta (broken right wrist) will travel with the Angels to Oakland and Seattle this week, but is still confined to conditioning at this point.
Dan Haren's pinch-hit appearance in the 13th inning of Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Padres marked the first time an Angels pitcher had pinch-hit since Omar Olivares on June 10, 1998, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Mike Trout has hit safely in 11 of his last 14 games since May 5, batting .426 with 14 runs scored in that stretch. Albert Pujols, meanwhile, snapped an eight-game hitting streak after going 0-for-4 on Sunday -- but drew two walks for the first time since April 8. His batting average sits at .211.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.